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a brand new boat of Sri Lankan migrants has arrived on the island

The brand new coastal highway in Reunion RICHARD BOUHET / AFP

Escorted by a ship of the French Navy, the boat docked on the island early this Saturday morning. Its 46 passengers, asylum seekers in France, are taken care of by the State providers.

A brand new boat, carrying 46 Sri Lankan migrants, asylum seekers in France, arrived in Reunion this Saturday morning at daybreak. Its occupants are at the moment being dealt with by customs.

In a press launch issued at 8:40 a.m., the prefect of Reunion “welcomes the mobilization of the State providers (command of the maritime zone, course of the ocean, regional operational middle for surveillance and rescue, gendarmerie, police, SDIS, customs) on this operation and their good coordination, with the participation of the Grand Port Maritime, in order that the passengers of the boat arrive protected and sound.»

The 46 passengers (together with six youngsters and two girls) are at the moment being taken care of by the State providers for an preliminary well being test, a customs test and notification of their rights and placement in a ready space. They’ll then be the topic of interviews with the French Workplace for the Safety of Refugees and Stateless Individuals (OFPRA) to resolve on their admission to remain.

On Tuesday September 13, the Mauritian authorities have been the primary to identify the boat which was crusing in the midst of the Indian Ocean. So as to have extra particulars on the passengers on board, the Mauritian law enforcement officials intercepted the boat and have been then in a position to establish 46 Sri Lankan migrants, together with six girls and two youngsters. The latter defined to the native police that they have been searching for asylum in Reunion in order that the authorities in Port-Louis would allow them to proceed on their means.

The prefecture of Reunion had introduced that each one measures can be taken to welcome these migrants earlier than their asylum software is processed. The plan “Search and rescue(SAR) had been launched by the prefect to “find and rescue passengers in misery“, in view of the dangers run by these migrants, who made a crossing of greater than 4000 kilometers in a ship of solely 12 meters for greater than twenty days.

Champlain, constructing of the Nationwide Navy, had acquired Friday, September 16 for mission to accompany the ship till its docking in a Reunionese port. “The target of the French authorities at this stage is to safe the folks“, defined the prefecture, which ought to then redirect these asylum seekers to OFPRA and emergency lodging.

Arrivals since 2018

For this French abroad division of greater than 850,000 inhabitants, this kind of arrival started in 2018. For 4 years, eight Sri Lankan ships, carrying a complete of greater than 300 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have docked within the ports of Reunion. A primary migratory motion passed off between March 2018 and February 2019, with the arrival of six migrant boats, which prompted the Quai d’Orsay and the Ministry of the Inside to place stress on the Sri Lankan authorities to that they dismantle the networks of smugglers who arrange these extraordinarily harmful journeys.

The Covid-19 disaster then induced a complete halt to those arrivals in 2020 and 2021, however the momentum resumed as evidenced by the arrival of two Sri Lankan boats in April and July 2022, withvs respectively 126 and 6 migrants on board.

Social and financial disaster, non secular persecutions

The social and financial disaster which has shaken Sri Lanka since March 2022 and which prompted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign on July 12, 2022 is likely one of the components which has revived this dynamic. However the non secular persecution suffered by the Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities in a predominantly Buddhist nation (70% of the inhabitants) can even clarify the upsurge within the arrival of Sri Lankans in Reunion. The final six asylum seekers who arrived on July 31, 2022, thus invoked grounds of political and non secular persecution to acquire their refugee standing.

For the second, these departures from Sri Lanka in direction of Reunion aren’t large and it ought to be remembered that through the first migratory wave of 2018-2019, practically 150 migrants have been despatched again by airplane to Sri Lanka after the rejection of their asylum software. However the present dynamic might proceed if social and political tensions proceed within the former island of Ceylon. Mayotte, one other French division within the Indian Ocean, already confronted with large immigration from the Comoros, additionally noticed a ship of Sri Lankan asylum seekers arrive on its shores on August 3. They have been expelled 4 days later.

Lastly, these latest Sri Lankan migrations to Reunion resonate significantly within the historical past of the island. Certainly, after the emancipation of African slaves in December 1848, the landowners of the island turned to Asia to recruit a workforce of “dedicatedmeant to work within the sugar cane fields. The “dedicatedhave been primarily from China and India. That they had a unique authorized standing from that of former slaves, however have been in a scenario of semi-freedom. This technique shall be definitively abolished in 1939, seven years earlier than the departmentalization of the island in 1946.

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